25. 02. 2019
The Ombudswoman was approached by a lawyer working for the contributory organisation of the city Brno – DROM looking for assistance in the matter of job advertisements considered as discriminatory on grounds of nationality and ethnicity. DROM is an organisation supporting people from socially excluded localities and helping them with their problems in many areas of life (search for employment or accommodation, assistance for children with special needs at school etc.). While the DROM staff was helping their clients with the job search they had found an online ad placed by a company looking for construction labourers to work at a construction site of a residential building. The ad stated that the company was only looking to hire Czech citizens and that “foreigners” and ethnic minorities shall not apply.
As such an advertisement is clearly discriminatory, the Ombudswoman recommended to the DROM organisation to file a complaint with the relevant District Labour Inspectorate. After the inspection was closed, the Labour Inspectorate concluded that no violation of law was found in this case. It based its reasoning solely on the job portal operator’s response to its questions and concluded that the online advertising site was anonymous and that the identity of the company which had placed the ad could not be established. The State Labour Inspectorate as the superior authority supported the view of the District Labour Inspectorate. The DROM organisation was not satisfied with the inspection’s results and decided to approach the Ombudswoman again.
In the Ombudswoman’s inquiry into the case, it was found that the authorities’ procedure was at variance with the law. In performing its inspection, the District Labour Inspectorate should have made use of the legal concept of the “obliged person”, i.e. request the identity of the company that had placed the ad from the advertising site operator. As it failed to do so, it failed to establish the facts of the case necessary to meet the purpose of the inspection. This violated Section 9 (a) of the Inspection Rules. The State Labour Inspectorate should have discovered this error in the District Labour Inspectorate’s procedure and ordered it to initiate administrative proceedings or should have done so itself.
In the end, the State Labour Inspectorate accepted the Ombudswoman’s argumentation and informed the inspectors in all District Labour Inspectorates of the need to use information obtained from obliged persons for the purposes of identifying originators of discriminatory job ads. This methodological instruction was considered as sufficient at the time being and the Ombudsman will continue monitoring compliance therewith.